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Bishop responds to MPs Expenses Scandal

Published: 17th May 2009 21:05
The Bishop of Lichfield has responded to the MPs expenses scandal by saying some MPs should be sacked; but he also defended the "vast majority" of "decent and honest MPs" and warned against "bringing down the whole democratic system".

Speaking on the day he and his fellow West Midlands Church of England bishops joined forces to issue a joint statement urging people to vote wisely in the forthcoming European Parliamentary elections, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill said: "I've been absolutely scandalised by some of the stories of what is coming out; and I've felt like I don't want to vote either; or at least I don't know how to vote.

"But then, when you step back a bit, you realise that the vast majority of MPs have not been fiddling their expenses and we must be careful not to bring down the whole democratic system. What's important is that it is not so much the system, it's the people. And some people just need to be sacked. But for the rest of us, we need to keep on exercising our vote so that we can insist that all the decent and honest MPs reform and clarify their expenses system."

He added: "There's one thing wrong with a democracy that isn't working very well; and that's no democracy at all. And if you think of the systems that we have had in the past, and they have had in other parts of the world when democracy has failed, it's actually even more important that we vote at this moment than usual.

"I'm just looking at the history of The Potteries, when it was the pottery bosses who had the say over thousands of people's lives. The result was terrible poverty and we don't want to go back to a system where a few powerful people have all the say.

"It is important that, even if it is difficult to know how to vote at the moment, that all of us should use our vote and use it to the best of our ability; otherwise the whole democratic system might be in danger."
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